PEOPLE Explains: Case of Utah Mom Allegedly Murdered by Husband on Alaska-Bound Cruise
The Utah mom was found dead in the cabin of an Alaska-bound cruise ship -- and her husband is charged with murder
A Utah woman was found dead on the floor of her Alaska-bound cruise ship on Tuesday — and authorities suspect her husband killed her.
According to a federal arrest affidavit obtained by PEOPLE, Kristy Manzanares, 39, was found dead in her cabin. The affidavit states that there was blood “spread throughout the room on multiple surfaces.”
Kristy’s husband, Kenneth Manzanares, was allegedly covered in blood. He has been charged with federal murder. He has not entered a plea and bond has not yet been determined.
Here are six things to know about the case.
1. Kristy Manzanares Died in an Alleged ‘Domestic Dispute’
Kristy’s death was allegedly the result of a “domestic dispute,” Princess Cruises said in a statement.
Kristy was traveling with extended family members and her three daughters, ranging in age from 13 to 22, family spokeswoman Miranda Barnard told PEOPLE.
According to the arrest affidavit, a witness told security he went into the couple’s cabin and saw Kristy on the floor, covered in blood. When he saw Kenneth, her husband, with blood on his hands and clothing, he asked what happened, to which Kenneth allegedly replied, “She would not stop laughing at me.”
Kenneth then allegedly grabbed his wife’s body and dragged it towards the cabin’s balcony. The witness told security that he himself grabbed Kristy’s ankles and pulled her back inside the cabin. Moments later, security arrived.
While he was being processed by the FBI, Kenneth allegedly said, “My life is over.”
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2. Her Husband Allegedly ‘Snapped’ After She Mentioned Divorce: Family Source
The killing allegedly culminated a night of marital tension between the couple that began when Kenneth became belligerent at dinner, a family source who was not on the boat tells PEOPLE.
“He had been acting terrible all night,” the source says. The source adds that at some point that evening, Kristy asked for a divorce. At that point, Kenneth allegedly “snapped” and killed her, the source says.
The couple’s apparent marital discord was news to the source, who tells PEOPLE, “If they were having [marital issues] they never showed any of that to anyone else.”
3. Passenger Saw Teen Girl Sobbing, ‘I Want My Mommy’ After Killing
Passenger Natalie Beckstrom told the St. George News of Utah that amid the chaos of the night of Kristy’s killing, she saw a 13-year-old girl “standing there wrapped in a blanket, just sobbing.”
When a man emerged nearby in blood-covered clothes and said, “It doesn’t look good,” the girl “just lost it,” Beckman recalled.
“She just started sobbing, ‘I want my mommy. I want my mommy,’ ” Beckman said.
Another passenger, Jen Larson, told ABC News that she saw the Kristy’s young daughter distraught and screaming after the incident.
“She was just really scared,” Larson said. “She said, ‘I just want to go and see my mom! I just want to see my mom! What’s happening?’ ”
4. Her Cause of Death Is Pending, but Authorities Say Kristy Suffered Head Wound
The federal affidavit describes a grisly scene: Kristy was found in a pool of her own blood and she had a severe head wound, but authorities have declined to release other details in the case.
An autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death will be completed in Juneau, Alaska.
After her death, Kristy’s family released a statement: “We are devastated over the loss of Kristy. She is the light of our lives — a devoted mother, daughter, sister and friend. Kristy led by example with her giving heart and we are inspired by the legacy of kindness and optimism she has instilled in her children.”
5. The Couple Was Celebrating their 18th Anniversary on the Alaska-Bound Cruise
Kristy and Kenneth were high school sweethearts. The cruise was a celebration of their 18th wedding anniversary, the family source tells PEOPLE.
The ship set off from Seattle on Sunday on a weeklong trip but was diverted to Juneau, where it docked hours early as a result of the incident. The Emerald Princess was carrying 3,400 passengers and 1,100 crew members, CBS News reports.
After the incident, passengers were placed on lockdown for hours before being allowed to leave the boat. Princess Cruises will issue $150 onboard credit to each passenger because of the inconvenience.
6. Killing Occurred During a Murder Mystery Trivia Program, and Some Thought It Was Make-Believe
Some passengers on the cruise initially thought the loudspeaker announcement for security and medical personnel was make-believe and was part of a musical Sherlock Holmes-themed murder mystery trivia program, one passenger told PEOPLE.
“We just thought this was part of the dramatic effects they were using for the murder mystery,” Vic Simpson said. “And then two more times they came on and asked for more security and medical teams, but again it just fit in so well with the murder mystery because it was about a murder on a cruise ship. So really that night I didn’t think anything about it.”
Natalie Beckstrom told the St. George News that after the announcement, when she went to check on her own kids, one of her family members asked her, “Don’t you think that’s part of the play?”
“I said, ‘Oh yeah, duh.’ So that’s kind of what everybody in the room was thinking was that it was just part of the play,”
A Princess Cruises spokesperson told PEOPLE there was a “music murder trivia” game going on that evening.